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June 29, 2017

If you’ve ever struggled with translation, you’ve come across words that just can’t be easily translated in one word.

In German, the word “Ohrwurm” would be translated, “ear worm.” But when you say that someone has an “Ohrwurm,” you don’t mean that they have a worm in their ear. What you are communicating is that they have a song stuck in their head that they keep singing or humming over and over.

One word in German. About twelve in English.

The same is true with Bible translations and we find an example in Ephesians 4:15.

Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,

The English words “speaking the truth” are actually one word in Greek. It’s a participle form of the word “truth” – for you grammar nerds. If you were to translate it with one word, you’d have to say “truthing” – underlined in red, because spell check doesn’t recognize it as an English word.

Most English translations add “speaking the” in order for the sentence to make sense.

I wonder if Paul meant “doing truth” – everything that you say, do, or think should be filled with the truth.

In any case, truth is combined with love. An imbalance is not helpful, whether it’s speaking or doing the truth. If it’s the truth without love, you’ll be harsh and critical. If it’s love without truth, you’ll avoid dealing with the necessary issues.

And the goal is the maturity of individuals, which leads to the maturity of the church.

Sometimes we have to speak the truth. Sometimes we have to show love. Is that right?

No. It’s not. We must always speak the truth in love. We can’t separate them, or overemphasize one.

Or we’ll never grow up.

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